The Couch Conundrum

When it comes to moving abroad, you are aware that your living situation is temporary in nature. I have lived in 3 apartments around Seoul in less than 2 years. And I suppose I have known for a while that Seoul and Korea are not permanent for me.

And then I moved to a nice apartment in a nice neighborhood. And then I got a couch. I forgot how much I missed having a place besides my bed to be comfortable. (And honestly my bed isn’t that comfortable- my mattress is made by Samsung and feels about as comfortable as sleeping on a pile of electronics. )

I keep inheriting appliances from friends who are leaving Korea as well. I have a cat for goodness sake. I am way more settled than I planned to be.

And even though my language skills are weak, I am pretty comfortable in Seoul. I know how to communicate my needs fairly well (though, I understand much more than I can verbalize myself), I know how things operate here. A country farm girl by birth, I am adapted to the rhythms of one of the biggest cities in the world. The extremely fast paced lifestyle has led to a high level of speed and convenience.

I just don’t want to get stuck in a place where I am not moving forward towards my personal and professional goals just because it’s comfortable. That’s the exact reason was so many people get stuck and live their whole lives in a rut. People spend 30 years in a house mainly because it has all their stuff in it and it’s a hassle to move it.

I don’t think it’s wrong get settled when the time and place are right. I just don’t think it is for me. But now that I am trying to plan what comes next, I feel quite nervous. Because it is comfortable. My job’s not bad. I like my apartment, my cat, and my couch. It may take me a while to find things I like in another place. I get to be uncomfortable again in a new place.

But there is one big reason pushing me toward getting out of Seoul in the next year: the climate. We just don’t get along. I’ve spent virtually the whole winter sick both this year and last year. The air pollution is so bad and I have a weak set of tonsils and some lingering asthma from my childhood. The super dry winters with their yellow dust clouds from China that usually start around early spring leave me with permanently swollen glands. The super humid summers don’t offer much relief. Pollution can be a problem all year round.

My lungs are too weak for this nonsense. I wear a face mask on bad days. It doesn’t help much, but any port in a storm, right?

So, for reasons personal and health related, I think I’ll have to escape Seoul and possibly Korea by 2016. I’ll just have to find a new home for the couch and the cat. As well as a new home for me.

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